It was another windy and overcast day on Pico Island. I see why the vines are protected by those carrais i.e. lava rock enclosures. So I am savouring my toasted cornbread with a conger eel omelette for breakfast. My friend Fortunato Garcia knows my passion for conger eel so he had brought over some nice fatty conger eel chunks which make an awesome omelette. With a big mug of Brazilian coffee I see 4 huge black Mercedes with Portuguese flags waving on them. They pull up in front of Adega Go Go and a group of very self-important politicos arrogantly survey a small group of locals and walk up to the door wanting to speak with Mr. Stephen. Why do Portuguese politicos need 4 huge Mercedes to visit me? Portuguese puffery?
I approach a middle-aged lady who introduces herself as the acting sub minister for the temporary minister of the Department of Agriculture. With cameras rolling and I mean cameras from all over the world she gives a little speech (in an insincere manner) apologizing to me and the Government of Canada for an “innocent and unattended violation of human rights”. According to this politico I should have never been arrested blaming the “ill-disciplined” Pico Island police force. What a croc of spoilt cod liver oil as we all know it was that special task force of the Portuguese Wine and Food Police that arrested me. Politicians do lie in Portugal I suppose.
The European Parliament condemned my arrest calling it barbaric! The Portuguese ambassador to Canada was called to the carpet in Ottawa by the Canadian Prime Minister to explain my arrest and threatened with a complete boycott of Portuguese sardines! Oh Pico Island received a massive amount of press and the local government clapped their hands in delight. Touristic bookings to Pico had mushroomed.
As I was a Confrades in the Confraria do Vinho do Porto a special ball in my honour was to be held in Porto (Baile de Gala Confraria do Vinho do Porto). An unwarranted attack on a Confrade is an attack on us all said the Chanceller of the Confrairia! As a token of gratitude and penance for my suffering a small castle had been bestowed to me by the Confraria on Pico Island with the special designation of a Grand Pico Confrade being bestowed on me! As a knight (Confrades) in the Confraria I finally had my Portuguese castle!
As atonement the Portuguese government awarded me honorary citizenship, 5 years of unlimited travel on TAP Portuguese Airlines, a 15,000 Euro gift certificate at Pestana Hotels in Portugal, 50 kilos of Azorean Honey, 10 wheels of the finest cheese from St. George Island, 50 kilos of Conger eel filets and 500 litres of caldo de peixe à moda do Pico! All I had to do was to appear at a press conference and forgive the actions of “certain Portuguese people” leading to my arrest. I really had no hard feelings so I gave the press conference in the Burger King beside the Continente store in Madalena. I said good-bye to the Portuguese delegation who told me the big trial of António Maçanita for atrocities toward Portuguese wine labels was soon beginning.
And to top matters off next Saturday I was to be the guest of honour in Madelena stadium for a football match between the Pico Island Singing Crabs and the Lagos Flying Sardines!
So I am a free man in Pico Island. I am not sure if you readers want to hear more. Do you know there may be a movie about all this affair with Nicole Kidman and that I was to found the Red Wine Institute of Pico Island. Robert Parker would soon be slobbering at my feet after giving my “Singing Crab Isabella 2024” a 99 rating!